Tea FAQ: Is Bottled Green Tea Healthy For You or Harmful?
We are constantly on the move, primarily because we cannot afford to stop if we want to maintain our economic standing. As a result, we have become dependent on convenience and tools that allow us to maintain a fast-paced lifestyle. This has also made it harder for us to enjoy homemade food and drink since we are out the door when we wake up. This has made it difficult for us to enjoy a well-balanced breakfast when we wake up unless we wake up an hour ahead of schedule. Even enjoying a cup of coffee or tea from our own kitchen becomes a luxury that we usually forgo because there is not enough time to make it. This has led a large portion of the population to employ the services of coffee shops like Starbucks for their morning fix.
Another common solution employed by tea enthusiasts is purchasing bottled green tea, which is readily available at any convenience store. The challenge most bottled tea drinkers face is finding their brand and, possibly, their flavor depending on their preferences. Many people fail to consider that bottled tea consumption might not be as good for them as drinking traditionally steeped tea.
There has been an upsetting trend of convenience being valued more than nutritional value, and many have forgotten that the processed equivalents of otherwise healthy products do not necessarily possess the same benefits. Even bottled green tea can be problematic for our health depending on the brand, which begs the question: is it really bad for you?
What is Bottled Green Tea?
This might seem like a strange question, especially if you already drink bottled green tea regularly. Nevertheless, understanding what differentiates bottled green tea from more traditional teas is essential to assessing its value. Bottled green tea is a refrigerated beverage that claims to offer the same beverage as normal green tea. The difference is portability and convenience since bottled green tea is not heated and comes in a resealable container. Additionally, we do not have to expend any time or effort making the drink potable and can simply open and drink it as we continue with our day. Bottled green tea comes in several brands and bottles that are marketed with different ingredients. Some are advertised as standard soft drinks, while others are marketed as health drinks focusing on green tea's nutritional value.
If you have ever purchased bottled or canned green tea, you are likely familiar with some of the most popular brands, like Lipton, Snapple, Brisk, and AriZona. There are dozens of other brands with different drink recipes, all made with green tea. The different brands are primarily likened to the eternal competition between Coca-Cola and Pepsi since the main difference for most people is the flavor.
One of the most popular bottled tea brands is AriZona, which produces a variety of flavors, with some bottles containing caffeine-free tea. One of AriZona's main flavors is traditional green tea with honey, making it one of the country's main sources of canned green tea.
While AriZona does have its rivals, it is one of the most beloved brands in America due to its flavors and affordability. However, the brand shares its popularity with several rivals that offer similar alternate flavors made with different ingredients. Lipton is one of the most commonly purchased brands after AriZona, offering a greater range of flavors and recipes. Ultimately, most bottled and canned green teas are soft drinks marketed as an alternative to home-steeped tea.
That said, other brands closer to natural tea on the market are less popular among casual tea consumers. Brands like Oi Ocha and Pure Leaf offer products designed to be cold-steep (the tea equivalent of cold brew coffee) teas rather than iced teas or soft drinks, though Lipton is not overburdened with additives. We must address whether these cold, bottled teas are as healthy as the real deal.
Is Bottled Green Tea Healthy?
This question, while seemingly simple, is more complicated than you might have guessed. Bottled green tea is viewed as an alternative to hot tea made from Camellia sinensis leaves by many, but the specific recipe used in a particular bottle can have consequences. As a result, the answer to whether bottled green tea is healthy is: it depends. With the sheer number of brands available for green tea enthusiasts, there are a lot of details to consider.
Choosing bottled or canned tea can boil down to individual preference, whether you want a specific flavor or ingredient. For example, many people drink Brisk (an iced tea manufactured by PepsiCo) because of the variety of flavors that give the drink a bittersweet profile. While Brisk is fairly popular, it cannot be called healthy because of the added sweeteners. The nutritional information for a bottle of Brisk's lemon-flavored tea is as follows:
- Calories: 70 (per serving)/190 (per bottle)
- Total Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 105mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 17g
- Total Sugars: 17g
- Protein: 0g
While the caloric value of the tea is not obscene, the 17 grams of added sugar dilutes the nutrients available in the tea powder used to manufacture it. Because of the added sweeteners, it would be irresponsible to label Brisk a "healthy" bottled green tea and more appropriate to call it a typical soft drink. Additionally, Brisk iced tea contains several artificial preservatives and flavors, making it less nutritional than regular green tea steeped at home. Conversely, Lipton green tea has an additional gram of sugar but significantly fewer preservatives. Despite these differences, Lipton green tea is still unworthy of the label "healthy" insofar as tea is concerned.
While Lipton and Brisk are packed with preservatives and have several grams of sugar, other brands fit the healthy criteria. Specifically, Ito En Oi Ocha is a brand of unsweetened green tea available in the sections of grocery stores specializing in Eastern products. A bottle of Oi Ocha green tea has a significantly better nutritional label than the other 2. Specifically, Oi Ocha's nutrition is as follows:
- Calories: 5
- Total Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 75mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 1g
- Total Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0g
Unlike Lipton and Brisk, Oi Ocha has no sugar and significantly less sodium, making it less taxing on our bodies. Essentially, the goal for bottled green tea is to find brands with little or no sugar and no preservatives. This ensures no ingredients might overtax the liver or cause us to experience other health issues common with consuming processed foods. Most bottled drinks, especially soft drinks like iced tea, are packed with preservatives to increase the shelf life and minimize product loss to expiration. As a result, the drinks can be sold long after the manufacture date but present additional hazards to the fragile biome in our bodies.
One advantage that bottled green tea possesses over natural green tea is that the manufacturers can filter out the caffeine concentration. Several caffeine-free bottled teas on the market can help us enjoy the flavor and effects of green tea unassociated with caffeine. While most of the benefits people enjoy are because of the caffeine concentration, sometimes the flavor is the goal, and overconsuming caffeinated tea can be taxing. Drinking too much caffeine can adversely affect our health, so we must ensure we do not exceed the Food and Drug Administration's recommended maximum intake. Consuming bottled tea with caffeine filtered out can help us maintain reasonable consumption rates.
Alternatives to Bottled Tea
While a handful of bottled green teas are available for purchase and consumption, they are not always worth the effort. One of the main issues is that the flavor of these bottled teas is a lottery, and you might wind up buying something you do not like. Unlike normal tea that you steep at home, iced tea and bottled tea are not as easily altered to suit personal taste.
The concern with flavor has led most brands to introduce sugar and artificial sweeteners to their products. This has made brands like Brisk and Lipton more popular since the taste is more agreeable to those who dislike bitter tastes. This makes it very difficult to locate healthy bottled green tea with an agreeable flavor. The lack of viable products means most tea drinkers are forced to acquire an alternative that allows them to maintain the standards of health they want.
As inconvenient as it sounds, the best alternative to bottled green tea is traditional green tea or one of its less common cousins. Traditional tea provides the full range of benefits associated with C. sinensis leaves and is healthier since it comes from a natural source. Additionally, steeping your own tea allows you to control what goes in without worrying about potential additives that might jeopardize your health. This level of control and the lack of additives means there will be no question that your green tea is healthy. Unlike the processed sugars that usually accompany bottled drinks, you can also add healthier sweeteners.
For example, you can add honey, licorice, or Stevia to a cup of home-steeped tea without worrying about adding preservatives. While these sweeteners might add to the caloric value of your tea, they will improve the flavor using natural resources your body can use rather than artificial additives. Unfortunately, steeping your own tea is still time-consuming and might not be effective for people who live on tight schedules.
Sometimes, our obligations prevent us from being able to enjoy a cup of home-steeped tea before we have to leave. Fortunately, there are healthy alternatives that can accommodate fast-paced lifestyles. There are supplements designed to generate rapidly steeped tea that use multiple types of tea leaves to maximize their health value.
The beauty of supplements is that they are portable and can be used wherever you are as long as you have the proper resources. Regarding tea supplements, the resource is usually hot water, readily available in most buildings. These supplements can help you acquire the full benefits of tea consumption without spending much time steeping it when you have places to be or things to do. Concerns associated with using tea supplements can be just as challenging as identifying a "healthy" bottled green tea. Unfortunately, those concerns are slightly more pressing than those associated with the latter.
The main concern with acquiring a supplement (for green tea or otherwise) is locating a vendor that offers a reliable product with no unlisted additives. This can be very difficult to accomplish due to the number of potential providers on the market. However, your best bet will always be to purchase natural ingredients from the provider.
Finding the Right Blend
Tea is a time-honored beverage that has become a staple of modern breakfasts, despite its origins as a culturally significant drink in the East. While green tea is an amazing beverage, it is best enjoyed in its natural form rather than processed. Green tea is an incredibly healthy beverage when steeped properly, but the processed versions available in convenience stores forgo the natural version in favor of longevity.
This is not to say that bottled teas are inherently unhealthy or that you should avoid them completely. Certain bottled green teas are healthy, while others can be enjoyed as an occasional treat. If you want to use green tea to improve your health or take advantage of its benefits, you will want to opt for the most natural tools. Even if you cannot steep the tea properly, you can acquire a reliable supplement.
We at Teami have a longstanding love for green tea and its more exotic variants like matcha, so we have made several products to take advantage of them. We know steeping a pot of tea is time-consuming and not always viable, so we have created our Boost Tea Blend. It combines matcha, yerba mate, and peppermint tea leaves to create a powerful and tasty supplement. The best part is that it only takes 5 minutes to prepare and can be steeped in travel cups. If you are looking for a tea supplement that uses only natural ingredients, visit our website and see what we have to offer. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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